home Tech Sphero’s latest toy turns colors into music

Sphero’s latest toy turns colors into music

Sphero acquired fellow Colorado-based company Specdrums back in June, and today it’s debuting the results of that purchase in the form of… the same product that Specdrums already released. Sphero is releasing Specdrums again, except this iteration features Sphero branding. For the unacquainted, Specdrums involves a ring that users can wear to tap on colors anywhere, like a wall or table or picture, and in return, they’ll hear a musical note on their companion iOS or Android app. The bigger idea is that wearers can use their hands to make music in the world around them.

The ring includes a light sensor for picking up on colors and an accelerometer to determine when a user is tapping something. There are also LEDs inside the ring that light up. It pairs over Bluetooth and charges over Micro USB. It should last for two hours of play time on a single charge. Specdrums will go on sale on January 7th and ship the week of January 15th. It will cost $64.99 for one ring or $99.99 for two.

Other than being able to assign musical notes to items in the real world, users can play on the Play Pad that ships with each unit. The Play Pad looks like a keyboard, but it has colors instead of keys. Because the ring is Bluetooth-enabled, it can connect to any music software that accepts Bluetooth MIDI, including Ableton Live and GarageBand. That’s not necessary, though, as the companion Mix app lets people make loop notes and pick different instruments and sounds. The Mix app doesn’t work with the original Specdrums product, nor does it work with Sphero’s own app.

It’s slightly surprising that Sphero isn’t outwardly connecting Specdrums back to its signature connected spheres and app. However, the company is officially moving away from licensed toys, so it probably needs to also expand beyond rolling balls and diversify its product line.

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